March 24, 2011 at 8:37 AM ET
What if you could see the cellphone photos taken by everyone within 150 feet of you? Would you be hesitant about potentially seeing yourself captured in one of those photos or would you be smiling as your inner voyeur jumps in joy?
With a new app called Color, you can find out.
Color is a free app and available in Android and iOS flavors — a BlackBerry version is in the works — and it lets people share and collect photos, video, and text based on proximity rather than friend lists.
Here's how it works: You'll download the app, enter your name, take a quick photo for your user icon, and start capturing images, recording video, or writing quick notes. As you upload these memories, they'll instantly show up in the Multi Lens — a section of the app which updates live as more media is uploaded — of anyone within 150 feet of you.
Those who spot your memories in their Multi Lens will be able to post comments in reply, report you if you've uploaded something inappropriate, block you if they never ever want to see anything from you again, or simply quietly watch your media continue appearing in their Multi Lens and being saved to a section called a Visual Diary.
A clever aspect of the app is that while it doesn't require — or allow — you to create profiles or maintain friend lists, it does give you a way to continue keeping up with your friends once you're out of the 150-foot range. And that's by learning about and remembering with whom you interact and creating "elastic networks."
Once the interaction dwindles, you'll notice that the app will begin to show a washed out version of your former friends' icons as a reminder of your fading app-based friendship before ceasing to show you their photos when they're not around. To rekindle the friendship and maintain your elastic network, you simply have to interact a bit again or spend more time near each other.
Doug Leone from Sequoia Capital — one of the companies who contributed to the $41 million of funding raised by Color — remarked that he believes that "just as the iPhone changed everything about mobile phones, Color will transform the way people communicate with each other." While we're not so sure that we agree with Leone's statement just yet, we do think that Color could add a bit of casual fun to photo sharing.